|Center for Catalytic Science & Technology|
|Comprised of the following departments: Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering :: Chemistry & Biochemistry :: Materials Science & Engineering|
Research by Jeffrey Rimer, an assistant professor in chemical engineering at the University of Houston, has led to a method for curbing the growth of crystals that form cystine kidney stones. Rimer's article was published in the October 15 issue of Science and was featured on the magazine's cover (DOI: 10.1126/science.1191968). He conducted this work as a postdoctoral researcher at New York University's Molecular Design Institute.
In this study, Rimer used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to reveal that L-cystine crystals grow through spiral growth patterns via the continual attachment of L-cystine molecules to the edges of hexagon-shaped hillocks on the crystal surface. Knowing how these crystals grew, the researchers could then select a chemical agent to inhibit this process.
According to the co-authors of a perspectives article appearing in the same edition of Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.1197207), findings by Rimer et al. could provide drug candidates for cystine stone disease and may also lead to future discoveries for more common forms of stone disease.
We are pleased to announce that Tom Degnan, University of Delaware alum, has been selected as the recipient of the AIChE CRE Division Practice Award for 2010. Tom is employed by ExxonMobil.
This award recognizes individuals who have made pioneering contributions to industrial practice of catalysis and chemical reaction engineering. Awardees are selected based on their contributions to the discovery and application of innovative catalysis or reaction engineering solutions to technological problems, and/or commercialization of new products and processes.
The award will be presented at the Division Dinner during the AIChE annual meeting in Salt Lake City, UT. A special invited session will be held in honor of the recipient at the annual meeting on Monday morning, November 8th during which he will present a talk entitled “Catalysis in a Pocket: The MCM-22 Story”.
Based on his 2003 work, "Mesoscopic Modeling of Transport and Reaction in Microporous Crystalline Membranes" [Chem. Engr. Sci. 58 (3-6) 895-901], Mark A. Snyder, along with his doctoral advisor, Dion Vlachos, and their collaborator, Markos Katsoulakis, was the recipient of the W. David Smith, Jr. Graduate Publication Award. This work serves as a foundational computational work in the field of membrane science, and, more broadly, as a seminal contribution to the influential computational field of multiscale modeling. The broad impact of this work earned it a Chemical Engineering Science Most Cited 2003-2006 Paper Award. Mark's paper makes a significant contribution to the field of multiscale modeling, helping to shift the paradigm for system and materials engineering towards more rational, hierarchical first principles based approaches. The mesoscopic modeling approach described in his paper establishes a powerful non-phenomenological, system-specific approach aimed at bridging disparate atomistic and macroscopic scales for a priori prediction or fundamental interpretation of device-scale phenomena.
Two CCST students at the University of Delaware have been awarded prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships. Vassili Vorotnikov ia a doctoral student in chemical engineering, and Marco Bedolla is an Honors Program senior who will be going to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall to work towards a doctorate in chemical engineering.
The NSF Fellowships are highly competitive, with only about 2,000 students nationwide, across all fields, receiving them. The grants are for three years of advanced study and include tuition, and a stipend, and an allowance for international travel.
Vorotnikov is studying under Dionisios G. Vlachos, Elizabeth Inez Kelley Professor of Chemical Engineering. His work focuses on multiscale modeling of catalyst nanoparticles applied to specific reaction networks.
He is particularly interested in ammonia decomposition because of its potential use in fuel cells as a source of hydrogen. Vorotnikov plans to pursue a career in academia after finishing his doctoral degree.
“As an undergrad at the University of New Hampshire, I was deciding between chemical engineering and physics,” he says. “Chemical engineering seemed more applied, and I went with it. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school when I started research under Prof. Charles Smith, a former UD solar physicist, who now works at UNH.”
Bedolla is currently completing a thesis on propylene epoxidation using silver catalysts. Under the supervision of Mark Barteau, Robert L. Pigford Professor of Chemical Engineering, he is studying how propylene oxide can be produced using silver in an environmentally sustainable manner.
“Propylene oxide, which is among the most widely produced chemicals in the world, is an important intermediate for the manufacture of plastics, fuel additives, antifreeze, foams, and so on,” Bedolla says. “Unfortunately, current methods to make this valuable chemical also yield large amounts of environmentally hazardous salts, solvents, and other byproducts.
“The goal of my research is to understand how propylene can react with the oxygen, possibly from air, on a surface of silver to produce only propylene oxide, eliminating the use of solvents and the need to dispose of noxious salts, solvents, and byproducts.”
Bedolla plans to continue working in the area of catalysis with applications to the environment in his doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin.
Dr. Ioannis Bourmpakis, a post doctorate researcher in Prof. Dion Vlachos’ group, at the Chemical Engineering Department, was selected to participate in the 60th Nobel Laureates Meeting as a young researcher.
The 2010 Meeting takes place from June 27 to July 2, 2010 in Lindau, Germany. It will be an interdisciplinary meeting bringing together young researchers from around the globe with Nobel Laureates from the fields of physiology or medicine, physics and chemistry.
Each young researcher belongs to the budding scientific elite of his/her country and has passed a multi-stage international selection procedure.
Dr. Bourmpakis was awarded a Marie-Curie International Outgoing Fellowship by the European Commission in 2008 to investigate the CO oxidation on Au nanoparticles at the University of Delaware, together with the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas in Greece.